Self exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed would return to the Maldives in time to campaign for the presidential elections slated for 2018, main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said Wednesday.
Nasheed’s jailing on a terror charge last year was a key trigger of the current political crisis. He was allowed to leave the country in an internationally brokered deal in January.
Nasheed became the first democratically elected president of the Maldives in 2008, but now lives in exile in London after he was jailed on terrorism charges that he says were politically motivated.
MDP chairperson Ali Waheed who himself lives in exile in Britain told opposition aligned Raajje TV on Wednesday that terrorism conviction is the "highest honour" incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom bestows upon his political rivals.
Waheed has also now been charged with terrorism over the violence that erupted during the May Day protest last year.
Ali Waheed joins the ranks of high-profile politicians and state officials jailed since March last year, which now include a former president, two former defence ministers, a ruling party MP, an opposition party leader, an opposition aligned lawmaker, a former vice president, a senior military officer, a former chief prosecutor, and a magistrate.
"Now he has turned his attention towards his own party," Waheed said referring to the ongoing dispute between Yameen and his half brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom for ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) control.
Waheed however, insisted that Gayoom still commands loyalty and support of the party which cannot be seized by brute force or through the corrupt judiciary.
Maldives civil court had ordered the elder Gayoom to handover PPM control to president Yameen last week.
The civil lawsuit filed by two lawmakers loyal to president Yameen accused the elder Gayoom of violating the party charter and impeding its effective functioning.
The court had ruled in favour of the plaintiffs, finding Gayoom guilty of violating the constitution, party charter and political party law.
The party control had been handed over to Yameen in the capacity of chief advisor which is a default position afforded to the party’s successful presidential candidate by the party’s charter.